“I’d rather take coffee than compliments just now.”-Louisa May Alcott
From its provocative aroma while brewing to the moment when that first, flavorful sip hits your tongue, coffee … particularly good coffee … is equal to none. For many, it’s a morning ritual, a sacred ceremony wrapped up in minutia including how the beans are ground, the method of brewing, enjoying it hot or cold, the addition of that precise amount of cream and sugar, or none at all. Some seek out the excess stimulation of sugary, creamy, multi-shot espresso drinks while others are content with a simple, unadulterated pour-over. Regardless of how and when it is consumed, coffee is an essential ingredient to many folk’s lives considering over half of the people in the U.S. drink a minimum of two cups a day.
Though we all have our favorite haunts when it comes to our daily cuppa joe, it’s fun to explore new cafes, baristas and brews from time to time because you never know what you might find. Even in this tenuous atmosphere, we can still revel if we make the effort to mask-up and keep our distance while discovering a brand new spot to practice our regular, caffeine-laden rites. Just recently, there’s been a few newcomers to our grand “community” of coffee that you’ll definitely want to check out.
Located on the corner of Bayou Road and N. Johnson Street, Old Road Coffee Shop opened up in early March of this year by Brian and Tammy Mahon slinging third-wave or artisanal java. Visitors have quickly come to appreciate their specialty coffee drinks brewed from locally roasted beans like Mojo and Congregation Coffee, plus Old Road also serves several teas, including matcha and chai, and an assortment of pastries and sandwiches provided by local bakeries like La Louisiane, Shake Sugary and Pandemic Pastries (@pandemicpastries2020). This large, airy, neighborhood cafe also offers free Wifi, both indoor and outdoor seating, and features restaurant and artist pop-ups almost every weekend.
Down only a few blocks away on N. Broad lies Coffee Bliss, another freshly brewed cafe with its own unique slant. Owners Dr. Cathy Honoré and her brother Michael launched the 7th ward shop at the end of July with both indoor and outdoor seating and an East Indian “vibe.” Coffee Bliss serves espresso drinks like cappuccinos, lattes and a special “Caffe Spicy Maya Mocha” with chocolate syrup and cayenne pepper, and immune support teas steeped in a French press. They also offer assorted pastries from Gracious Bakery. The cafe also sports retail shop NOLA Serenity CBD, offering “a path to peaceful wellness” through THC-free CBD products such as vegan gummy squares, tinctures and capsules, all alternatives to traditional pain medications.
Although it’s not a cafe per-se, Royal Roastery NOLA, a Middle-Eastern specialty shop that recently opened up in Gretna on Terry Parkway, is a great source for roasted in-house coffee blends. They roast high-quality. single-origin beans sourced from growers all over the world, from Columbia and Brazil to Ethiopia. Customers are encouraged to choose from their signature blends or they can customize their own blend depending upon their preferred tastes. The shop also offers a large selection of gorgeous Turkish coffee pots and sets, to “enhance the cultural experience.” In addition to coffee, Royal Roastery offers roasted nuts and seeds, gourmet candies and chocolates, and hand-made Middle Eastern pastries and sweets like a variety of halvas, baklava and Turkish delight.
Finally, over in Bywater former local baristas Kyle McLean and Josh Brodey opened Pond Coffee (@pondcoffee), a window-service coffee shop inside vegetarian spot Small Mart on the corner of Chartres and Port. Serving a small menu of espresso drinks, from Americanos to Matcha Lattes (all made with oat milk), Pond Coffee is currently sourcing beans from a selection several local and non-local roasters such as New Orleans’ own Hey! Cafe and Exile Coffee Roasters, and Bean Fruit Coffee Co. out of Jackson, Mississippi. You can also score a whole lot of swag with Pond’s signature logo, everything from coffee mugs and t-shirts to stickers and cigarette lighters.
*Article originally published in the September 2020 issue of Where Y’at Magazine